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State shores up background screening of student teachers


From Illinois Business Journal news services

SPRINGFIELD — A new law that took effect with the start of the school year aims to improve the process of conducting criminal background checks for student teachers.

Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, D-Shorewood, co-sponsored the measure in the Illinois Senate.

“This new law makes conducting background checks for student teachers more efficient and ensures that appropriate safeguards are in place to protect our students,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “It addresses concerns from colleges, schools and parents.”

The new law requires student teachers to go through the same background checks as regular teachers and other school employees.

Student teachers will have to submit to a fingerprint-based criminal history check and go through a Statewide Sex Offender Database check along with a check of the Statewide Murderer and Violent Offender Databases. Additionally, the State Police and FBI will now be required to furnish any conviction records of prospective student teachers.

The changes implemented in Senate Bill 706 became effective for the 2015-2016 school year.

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